Do you know the definition of introversion?
A spoiler alert, not all introverts consider themselves shy. Introverts grip their quiet moments to recharge. Put it like this, when an introvert goes out into the world, it’s similar to when you put gasoline in your car. It needs fuel to function all day long and makes it back home, right?
Well, for introverts, I call it the Lonely Gas Station. We need this stop at the Lonely Gas Station to fuel our souls or minds, especially because we live in the extroverted America.
Our extroverted friends need to stop at the Socialize Gas Station. They recharge by socializing. Imagine an extrovert and an introvert socializing, which happens all the time. While the extrovert recharges, the introvert’s fuel begins to run low. Kind of funny if you think about it.
Extroverts, I feel, in my experience, act a bit awkward toward introverts or really quiet people. Since introverts rub off as mysterious, they think introverts don’t like them or that we suddenly hit Blueville. It’s understandable since most of the human race does not find comfort in the unknown. But the only way of making the unknown less awkward is by learning about it.
In America, extroverts make up a much higher percentage than introverts because we appreciate “great personality.” What outlines a great personality? Opinionated people, outgoing, intelligent, and bold. This illustrates an introvert as the opposite of all the great things we welcome in America.
By the majority’s definition, introverts kind of look bad. Here are statements from my introverted family members or friends when we discuss how some people view introverts, and it’s even worse for the shy introverts or introverts with social anxiety.
- They think I’m stupid.
- They see me as weird.
- They don’t hear me.
- They don’t see me.
- Why even bother to speak up.
- Some people think I’m depressed.
- They don’t understand I just need my space.
- They see me as arrogant.
- They think I’m shy.
- They think I am defiant.
- They think I don’t like them (or people period).
- They don’t like me because I am quiet.
- They hate my guts.
- I don’t belong in society.
- It’s like they’re afraid of me.
- I feel like an alien.
- I wish I were an extrovert. But I can’t.
- They think I don’t want to socialize.
Now that’s a long horrible list, right?
I shall now create a list of strengths of the Introverts:
- They are great team players because they consider the opinions of everyone.
- They may come up with better outcomes and ideas because they’re thinking of the best one, and they aren’t speaking up just to look bold.
- Great listeners.
- They keep their circle of friends small because they are loyal and dedicated to their relationships.
- They dislike the spotlight. So they don’t mind their friends outshining them.
- They’re attentive to detail.
- Since the introverts have grown up in the extroverted America, they’ve learned to communicate with both introverts and extroverts. (Okay, admittedly, sometimes.)
- Most musicians or writers (or art in general) tend to be introverts. Unlike our extroverted public speaker or politician friends.
- Great observations skills, such as reading facial expressions or body language.
- They do love (some like) people! 😀
And of course, we can always find the exception to everything or everyone.
Susan Cain, in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking, gives us two incredible examples of introversion.
Cain explains that Rosa Parks used her quietness and action to make a bold statement. We still talk about it today! Do we talk about her strong opinionated words? No–Her bold answer? No. We discuss how she refused to give up her chair. That’s powerful!
And who, so eloquently, spoke to the masses to fight for their rights? The great minister Martin Luther King Jr. While Rosa Parks remained in the “shadows,” we can say that she functioned as the introvert while MLK Jr. as the extrovert.
Cain gives us another example. She uses the Bible. Moses admitted to his “dumb” character and felt afraid to speak up. So God gave him Aaron, his brother. God assigned Aaron as the speaker and God performed His miracles through Moses. And who was the leader between the two brothers? Moses.
So introverts have the ability to achieve amazing tasks and actions if we embrace their character and give them freedom to be themselves.
Every time someone tells an introvert to “be bold” and “just speak up,” they’re really saying, “don’t be yourself.”
Cain, Susan. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. New York: Crown Pub., 2012. Print.